Monday, February 1, 2010

Thanks Johnny Jack!

February is the shortest month, as we say in our household. Meaning that even if there's still snow on the ground and frost on the car, we have survived the perils of January: frozen fog, being housebound and abandoned by the sun for days at a time, cabin fever. One memorable January we brought home a $1 ping pong set from the store, including one ball, two rather small paddles, and a net that fell over when hit - nonetheless we became completely obsessed with playing ping pong on our kitchen table...that's January.

This winter, I made my own drop spindle from an old faucet handle and a scrap of dowel, and tried spinning silk fibers into thread. John re-arranged his sitting-room to accommodate a model train table and the budding universe that goes along with that - we had lovely and intricate discussions about what kind of landscape we wanted to create - very relaxing to sit in that room and dream of an abandoned salt mine and a herd of burros gone wild, where the borax mine would go and if we could involve a small traveling the snow fell and Pablo the parrot made little snoring sounds from his playroom...But it's always a challenging month. When we heard the first blackbirds a few days ago, I was amazed, as I always am by how early they come back and start singing and bring the promise of spring.

So it's a perfect time to focus on what makes happiness - especially when it's sorely needed! So here's my list of ten points of happiness:

*Johnny Jack publishing his book of poetry, The Days of Wine and Roses.
*Moon gazing with Hippo and Golden Bear from the porch.
*The adventure of discovering friends in blog-world and bringing the Animals along with me (or are they bringing me along?)
*The mystery of John, as this unfolds, veils itself, gleams in unexpected places, returns to the familiar, over and over.
*Drawing with Amanda Every Otter.
*The pleasure of having friends, old and new, help out in hard times.
*The advent of Rosie and the chinchilla room.
*Praying in my oratory and making things for it.
*Writing my new book, Magdala Red.
*Learning how to knit with my new friend Heather.


  1. Hello, Everyone in Big Bed Land!

    We came across this video today on t.v. and dug it up on YouTube for you all. Amanda, you will enjoy this particularly (or have some information to share with the rest of us).

    I am teary-eyed to see it and know you will be moved as well.

    Kat and the Hygge Gang.

    It was taken two years ago apparently, at the Vancouver Zoo.

  2. Dear Poetikat,
    that was the most amazing video! There was such a crowd of Animals gathering around the computer that we had to play it three times (well,I wanted to see it again too.) I've never seen anything like this - it was very touching. Don't give up on me in re our project! Just a big teaching day here- you'll be hearing from me later today!

  3. Happiness? Learning how to knit??? Trying to do so nearly drove me insane.

    I once worked in a daycentre for people with learning difficulties. A group of old ladies who attended asked if they could start a knitting group. We said, of course: but none of the staff knew how to knit. Fortunately the old ladies did. I was sent along to, well, I'm not sure why I was sent along. They could knit. I couldn't. They were very amused by my incompetence, and spent a long time trying to teach me. It was really great, looking back. The members of the group had spent their lives being told (wrongly and unfairly) that they were incompetent - in not so many words. At last the boot was on the other foot!

  4. Dear Dominic,
    great knitting story! It made me think about the afternoon I spent learning how to knit with my mom a few months ago. She seemed so happy, teaching me something she's done for so long. She said she liked showing me something she knew so much about - that seemed poignant to me - she has had a lot of health problems, and her comment made me realize how much of her life is spent right now with other people telling her what to do - as you so aptly put it, the boot was on the other foot! Thanks.